Sam Parry then wrote:"After Carter was out of the White House, President Reagan not only removed the solar panels from the roof, he systematically dismantled Carter's alternative energy and conservation initiatives. Reagan became the anti-Carter in almost every way on energy policy.
"Reagan slashed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's budget by 90 percent, halved the Energy Department's conservation and alternative fuels budget, eliminated the wind investment tax credit, reduced spending on solar photovoltaic research by two-thirds, slashed energy tax credits for homeowners, and reduced fuel-efficiency standards for cars.
"Due largely to Reagan's policy reversals on alternative energy, the United States fell far short of Carter's goal of getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2000, achieving about only one-quarter of that target, even less than what Carter's policies had achieved by the early 1980s. ...
"Indeed, for those who understand the dire threat of catastrophic climate change and the curse of America's continued addiction to fossil fuels, "A Road Not Taken' can be a painful documentary to watch. It may be even more painful for our kids and grandkids to watch this film in a world that already is on its way to 11 degrees F warming (or more) by the end of the century. Scratch that. It won't be painful to watch a movie. It will be painful to live in such a world.
"But first, some good news. America is currently in the midst of a mini-boom for renewable energy, the likes of which we haven't seen since, well, the Carter administration. In 2010, 8.21 percent of all energy consumed in America came from renewable energy -- i.e., not fossil fuels and not nuclear. That's up from 5.37 percent in 2001. [See U.S. Energy Information Administration.]"
The Obama administration has made renewable energy a priority in a way that the U.S. government hasn't seen since those days of Jimmy Carter. President Obama devoted much of his 2009 stimulus package to support research and development of clean energy, and he regularly touts progress made in raising automobile mileage standards and advancing wind, solar and other alternative power sources.
Just as notably, Romney has attacked Obama's interest in these non-polluting forms of energy, even appearing outside a shuttered Solyndra plant to highlight the failure of that solar-panel company which went under despite U.S. loan guarantees.
Now, Romney seems eager to personalize the attacks on Obama's energy proposals by linking them to a favorite right-wing theme, that Obama sees himself in grandiose and presumptuous terms. Thus, the taunting claim that Obama vowed to lower the ocean's waters by himself, an apparent allusion to Moses parting the Red Sea.
So, Romney gets to appeal to his right-wing base in two ways, pandering to the anti-science conservatives who reject the evidence of climate change while suggesting that Obama is somehow sacrilegious in supposedly viewing himself in Biblical terms.
Romney's decision to highlight his new-found disdain for efforts to stem rising ocean levels and other threats from global warming suggests, too, that the stakes of Election 2012, like the Election of 1980, will be whether the United States presses ahead on efforts to mitigate climate change or goes back to ignoring the problem.